Skip to comments.Is ‘The Hobbit’ a ‘Christian’ film? Yes and no.
Posted on 12/14/2012 8:23:30 PM PST by BlackVeil
Travel along, if you dare, with Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit either in J.R.R.Tolkiens beloved 1937 novel, or through the first installment of Peter Jacksons film trilogy based on the book, which opens in theaters on Friday (Dec. 14).
If you do, you will, essentially, be traveling in a world constructed on Christian principles, says Devin Brown, a professor of English at Asbury University, a Christian liberal arts college near Lexington, Ky.
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...
Don’t believe the Hobbit was part of the trilogy.
I haven’t seen the movie, however, I have read the book many times. I found the book neither Christian nor non Christian. Just a book to read to your children (or read for yourself for fun). An adventure in fantasy with scary overtones. Nothing more, nothing less.
Thanks for the recommendation, I do plan to see it. A word from someone who has seen the film is much better than that of professional critics.
I agree with you on this, it’s a stupid(or not) movie, watch it or dont.
Keep in mind its a Trilogy of three Books written in the 1930s, and finally three decent movie versions in early 2000s when special effects could do it.
Classic good versus evil epic battle.
A great movie for the family, kids over I would say ~ 9.
I’ll wait to comment about the movie since I have not seen yet, but the book most certainly was Christian, just not in an obvious way.
Do a little research:
Tolkiens Christian understanding of the nature of the world was fundamental to his thinking and to his major fiction. Neither propaganda nor allegory, at its root lies the Christian model of a world loved into being by a Creator, whose creatures have free will to turn away from the harmony of that love to seek their own will and desires, rather than seeking to give themselves in love to others. This world is one of cause and consequence, where everything matters, however seemingly insignificant.
Charles Moseley, J.R.R. Tolkien. (Plymouth, England, 1997), 60.
In the Lord of the Rings, it is more obvious:
In The Quest Hero, his essay on The Lord of the Rings, the great poet W.H. Auden expresses this idea in slightly different words, stating that the unstated presuppositions of the whole work are Christian.
In a 1953 letter to Fr. Robert Murray, who converted to Catholicism under Tolkiens influence, Tolkien wrote:
The Lord of the Rings is of course a fundamentally religious and Catholic work; unconsciously so at first, but consciously in the revision. (Letters, 172)
Five years after the 1953 letter to Fr. Murray, Tolkien wrote in response to a letter from Deborah Webster that I am a Christian (which can be deduced from my stories). (Letters, 213, 288)
Note the use of the word deduced. It isnt obvious. It is something that lies underneath and imbues all of Middle-earth.
God, is never mentioned per se in either The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings at least not in the novels proper.
Only in Appendix A to The Lord of the Rings do you find two references to the One who made men mortal.
Tolkiens good Middle Earth characters inhabit a moral universe
and are motivated and guided by a system of ethics that is Christian
in everything but name.
Daniel Grotta-Kurska, J.R.R. Tolkien: Architect of Middle Earth (1976)
I would claim, if I did not think it presumptuous in one so ill-instructed, to have as one object the elucidation of truth, and the encouragement of good morals in this real world, by the ancient device of exemplifying them in unfamiliar embodiments, that may tend to ‘bring them home. (Letters, 153)
Why would I care if it is or not?
His works were never intended to be a work of Christian fiction, they were meant to be entertainment for his family. If they had Christian overtones, that was because of his personal relationship with G_d, a relationship that fed over into his writings.
Some people do. You could not care, and just watch it for the story line, or be more interested in the message, and the depth of the author’s knowledge, which leads to his Christianity.
Tolkien like Lewis used imaginary worlds to tell the age old story of good vs evil God vs Satan. This is not new or news to those who have read either of these great writers
Agreed. The novels (and indeed the film adaptations) are most certainly Christian, just not in an obvious way. But then that’s the best way, because they are far more likely to be read/watched and enjoyed by non-Christians.
Read what he himself wrote:
I would claim, if I did not think it presumptuous in one so ill-instructed, to have as one object the elucidation of truth, and the encouragement of good morals in this real world, by the ancient device of exemplifying them in unfamiliar embodiments, that may tend to bring them home. (Letters, 153)
He wrote fiction with the INTENTION of “the elucidation of truth, and the encouragement of good morals in this real world, by the ancient device of exemplifying them in unfamiliar embodiments” - and that goes for The Hobbit as well. Yes, he wrote it for the entertainment of his children - and he was trying to teach them Christian virtues as well.
Want to know how a very self-confident and assertive Culture now has citizens falling over themselves to wallow in guilt that the actions of their predecessors were not perfect? Watch "Pocohantas" or "Avatar" (actually they are pretty much the same movie). Want to know how a Culture that prized and celebrated education and knowledge has embraced the trivial and inconsequential? Watch "Jackass", or "Jerry Springer". Want to know why the family is in decline but instant sexual gratification has become a right? Watch "sex in the city". The list goes on, and on, and on.
Life is short, but art is forever. Liberals understand this, but Conservatives largely do not. And that is why liberalism is winning.
Thats very sad, but lets face it - its such a well known, well read, well studied and well loved book it was always going to be difficult to match it in film. I think they did an astounding job with “Lord of the Rings”. It was always going to be hard to catch the lightning twice, particularly as the source material is a lot sparser.
Plan to see it Saturday with friends and relatives, including the six-year-old (the violence is more on a par with Narnia than LotR) in 2D--
And again next weekend when my sister visits. Probably 2D again.
Yeah, I liked it that much.
Recognized so much from the book-- and more from the appendices and other material published with the book-- I don't remember where I had seen the source of "Oakenshield", but was glad to see it depicted.
Also all the little nods to the fun moments in LotR-- Gandalf bumping his head on the ceiling lamp, for instance-- and the one semi-naughty bit, "if you've got the balls for it."
De gustibus non est disputandum.
The books are certainly Christian and the characters follow Christian ethics. The characters are disciples to true goodness. All follow the virtues and display the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit but Frodo is the most perfect example of such a disciple. Sam seeing his masters example becomes in turn a disciple also. The free peoples of Middle Earth are free because they live the virtues.
The movies have a different ethos. They seem more concerned with ethnicity. Some of the “good” characters act in evil ways. Frodo lies, Faramir tortures Gollum, the Ents act out of revenge, Aragorn resists taking his role of a King fighting for his people etc.
I am still a fan of these movies but they gutted the Christianity from them. That said, I’m on my way to see The Hobbit in all it’s 48f 3D glory. I hope it doesn’t make me sick in more ways than one.
I hear you! I agree the movies are far less Christian than the book.
I hope you do enjoy the Hobbit, but there probably are going to be some changes. The book is only 300 pages, and its being turned into three long movies. They can do that because in "The Hobbit" (and indeed LOTR) a lot of action happens "off-camera" as it were. So they are going to be filling all that in for you, and that means assumptions. Radagast the Wizard for example. He is certainly around but I think he has two lines in LOTR.
Read the Silmarillion and you will really understand Tolkein’s Christian thinking as it is weaved into the tales. Nothing he does is overtly religious, but there is a subtle undertone to all of it, mostly in the form of themes that mirror those in the Bible.
Thanks, but I watched the trilogy, saw nothing Cristian in it and don’t really care one way or the other.
Nothing Christian in it?
Lembas bread - according to Tolkien - is the Eucharist.
“Return of the King”? What king are Christians waiting for? A king who heals with his touch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xunYbyDr0_w
I agree with you. Fortunately, the math is simple: Jackson put more of Jackson in the movies than of Tolkien.